21/08/2014 11:35 BST | Updated 20/10/2014 06:59 BST

We Can All Make a Difference

I once saved two lives in one night. A friend's who I'd only known a couple weeks and my very own. I was going through an incredibly dark period; I thought life wasn't worth living and that I had no purpose. Yet, I saw the terrible hurt in my friend's eyes and decided I was going to do something about it. We sat in his car for three hours, as he opened up about his personal situation and how helpless he felt about it. I listened with empathy and compassion. By the end of the night, he said words that shocked me to my core. He said:

"I was going to end my life tonight, I had it all planned out. But you stopped me. I didn't do it - all because of you. Thank you."

In that exact moment, my perspective changed. I had gone from believing my life didn't have meaning to realising that I could make a difference. That my life had value. That I could bring hope to other people. That I wasn't as worthless as I once believed. Soon after, I started writing to give others this same hope. That is still the same reason why I write today.

Reaching your potential

My former school teacher once said to me:

"You'll never know your capabilities until you try."

He explained that life can be scary out there, that we need to believe in ourselves and have the courage to take risks, in order to find out what we are truly capable of.

I believed his words then, and I still believe them now.

I think the world can be downright scary sometimes. Opportunities can come knocking, yet we're scared to open the door. We might know what the right thing to do is, but we're frightened to take that leap of faith. We might want to move forward, but we believe it's safer to stay put.

We might not believe that we have the potential to make a difference. We might be holding back because we don't believe in ourselves and our abilities enough.

Changing the world

Steve Jobs once said:

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

When I was going through that dark period in my life and painfully crying myself to sleep, I didn't believe I could make a difference. I didn't believe I could change the world - far from it.

I didn't believe it until I saved my friend's life.

I don't think we have to save someone else's life to make a difference. I think everything we do can make a difference - through the words we speak, through the actions we take, through the lives that we touch.

I think if we put our heart and soul into everything we do, if we have the courage to believe in ourselves, if we dedicate our lives to living purposefully - then we are making a difference.

I ask that you believe in yourself. That you believe in your abilities. That you believe you are capable of whatever it is that you want to achieve. I ask that you take that leap of faith and make the conscious decision to move forward with your life.

No matter what career path you are on, you have the potential to make a difference with your life. You have the ability to change the world. You have the opportunity to make YOUR mark on the world. Forget what everyone else is doing and focus on your own uniqueness.

I write because I want to inspire others and make a difference. What are you doing to make a difference?

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." - William James


Thuy Yau is a freelance writer who wants to help others fulfil their potential. She is very passionate about psychology and personal development. She lives in Perth, Australia with her husband and three young children. Check out her motivational blog at Inside a Mother's Mind.